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Sharon Hashimoto

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Tough, grittily realistic portraits of the struggling, striving Thai lower class

It’s always a pleasure to be introduced to a new voice representing a culture that has been underrepresented, especially one that is so complex and challenging. I know very little about Thailand. Mai Nardone, a...

The hands that play

Music is a complex abstraction that is difficult to convey in writing. Riku Onda’s Honeybees and Distant Thunder is a novel that manages to bridge that gap even for an individual like me who...

Three books introduce haiku to young readers

One of the great pleasures of reading to young children is to watch them as they spark an interest in language and make links to their own creativity and imagination. I’ve read children’s books...

Sandi Tan’s Lurkers is a literary thrill ride

One never quite knows what to expect in Sandi Tran’s Lurkers. From the opening four sentences, a twist lies in “The only time Rosemary remembered seeing her father happy was when he was playing...

Linda Rui Feng’s debut novel Swimming Back to Trout River gives voice to what...

Reading Linda Rui Feng’s Swimming Back to Trout River is to experience a poetically written, lyrical, and emotionally poignant novel. Feng’s greatest strengths are her ability to capture special defining moments within and between...

Math is a path to imagination in Molly and the Mathematical Mysteries

First off, I should confess that I don’t have children or interact with youngsters very often. A second concession I also need to make is that I was never very good at math. Yes,...

Could be, should be heroes? A superhero adventure in Mike Chen’s We Could Be...

Rainy days in Seattle’s January through March can be daunting. They can be especially daunting when the March weather continues into June.. To lighten one’s spirit, an entertaining diversion can help. I was asking...

In “Must I Go”, a woman ponders what it means to be remembered over...

The best part of Yiyun Li’s novel, Must I Go, is the 81-year-old Lilia Liska Imbody and her insights about love, marriage, children, death and resilience. Just as Lilia is not the same person...

Pandemics in a time of change in Asia and the world

During 2020, the big year of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone was cocooning. I did so in my home with husband and cats. The streets were empty. Limited to Zoom meetings and the internet, I...

A coming of age novel that shows that even role models have masks

If you were David Tung, attending Shark Beach High, in suburban New Jersey, what would you make of the cutthroat academic competition? In Ed Lin’s Young Adult novel, David is a sophomore who ranks...